Bigger Doesn’t Equal Better: Here Are the Worst Stores For Customer Service

March 12, 2013  |  

Ever go into a store and just hate the customer service? You are not alone. According to a new American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, some of the country’s largest retailers have the worst customer service while, on the bright side, e-commerce retailers scored high customer satisfaction scores.

Recently, 24/7 Wall St reviewed the ACSI data to find the companies with the worst satisfaction scores in retail. On average, the traditional retail companies peaked at 76.6 on a 100-point scale in 2012. Internet retailers, however, had an average score of 82 last year. Out of the nine top retail companies with the worst ACSI scores, only one was an online retailer.

Here are the worst top three:

1. Walmart. Just because a company is a major chain doesn’t mean good customer service. In fact, it seems that the largest chains have the worst track record when it comes to satisfying customers. The $469.1 billion chain only received a score of 71 in the survey. For the purposes of the survey, Wal-Mart Stores was graded as a department and discount store.

When graded for customer satisfaction as a supermarket, Walmart’s ACSI score was not much better, at just a 72, reports the 24/7 Wall St. This was the worst in that category. Despite having a history of poor customer service, Walmart has not improved over the years. In fact, it has been the lowest-rated department or discount store in the nation every year between 2007 through 2012. And, it has been the lowest-rated supermarket every year since 2005. Even it’s e-commerce division doesn’t fare well. According to ForeSee’s E-Retail Satisfaction Index, Walmart received a grade of 78 on a 100 point scale during the 2012 holiday season, while rival Amazon.com led all e-retailers with a score of 88.

2. Netflix. This is the only e-commerce business that had poor grades. It earned a customer satisfaction score of only 75. The company, which makes $3.61 billion annually, was slightly up from 2011 when it received a score of just 74. Over the years it has been dropping in rank. Things got really bad in 2011 when Netflix enraged customers by increasing prices and announcing plans to separate its DVD rental and streaming platforms. But, writes the website,  after a considerable hit to its image — consumers were outraged at the prospect of having to pay bills for two platforms that would not be coordinated — the company pulled the plug on the service split.

3. Safeway. Despite earning $44.21 billion each year, Safeway hasn’t put much of an effort in improving its customer service. The supermarket chain received a 75 on the customer satisfaction score. Safeway, which is among the nation’s largest retailers., has more than 1,600 stores. “In each of the past 10 years, Safeway has underperformed supermarkets as a whole in the ACSI,” reports 24/7 Wall St. Customers complain often about inaccurate pricing, which led the state of California to sue the company twice. In fact, a court order required Safeway to refund customers $5 or give them the product free-of-charge if they are charged more than the advertised price. Still, according to a report by CBS 5 in San Francisco the company still often overcharged consumers last year.

We wonder if convenience and affordability, at times, trump a retailer’s commitment to customer service. If you can find what you need at the cheapest price at one store, do you care if the sales associate says “please” and “thank you”? (Though that doesn’t explain what’s going on at Safeway.)

Do you shop at any of these stores? What do you think of their customer service?

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